24 January 2008

Five Guys

Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries
43 W 55th Street
New York, NY 10019

There have been many studies done showing that people crave foods that are connected with childhood memories or other positive experiences. To this day I crave for a Philly cheese steak of my childhood. I also have developed a craving for the soft tacos I loved when I lived in Southern California, particularly the fish tacos popular in San Diego.

But for most people who grew up in America, their primal craving is for the hamburger and fries of their youth. Manhattan is fortunate for the many places to get a good burger. But there is also the need to have the iconic place that serves up the burger and fries that reminds us of our memories. It needs to have the same look, feel and smell of the joints where we had our favorite burgers. The closest places I have experienced in my adult life are the IN-N-OUT Burger chain of Southern California. Unfortunately IN-N-OUT has yet to travel beyond California, Arizona and Nevada let alone to Manhattan. A reasonable alternative is Five Guys. Originally started in Alexandria Virginia, just South of Washington DC, Five Guys has expanded not only throughout the Mid-Atlantic States but also throughout the Eastern half of the US including Manhattan.

The Five Guys on West 55th Street is located in a mini-restaurant row. When one enters the brightly lighted white tile with red tile joint, one encounter tall stacks of Idaho potato bags stored and displayed to announce that there are no frozen reheated fries coming out of this place. There are also stacks of malt vinegar and pickle jars, announcing the basic ingredients.

In the rear of the space is the short order grill, the order and pick-up spots and smell of burgers and fries. The menu is short and to the point; burgers and accompaniments, fries, dogs and soft drinks.

The burgers are great and the fries are better than average. Are they the best burgers in Manhattan? No, but they are darn good, and a great value.

Does the place remind one of the burger joints of your youth (assuming you are 30+ years old)? Yes, undoubtedly.

Does it satisfy one’s craving for a burger and fries? Yes (at least until IN-N-OUT ever comes to Manhattan).

Five Guys Famous Burger and Fries - Acceptable

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